Sidewalk Construction Program

County of Alameda, California
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


The county had an inadequate sidewalk system, particularly for areas with greater safety needs, such as school zones.


The Sidewalk Construction Program was initiated in response to the urgent demand of five unincorporated communities within the County to improve pedestrian safety conditions.


The Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA) and the Alameda County Public Works Agency worked together with citizens' groups to develop a priority matrix criteria tool to classify projects based on an objective point-value rating system composed of several components known to generate a high volume of pedestrians: e.g., proximity to schools, recreation, or shopping; and areas experiencing excessive pedestrian/vehicle collision rates. Several additional criteria included feasibility as measured by the cost per foot of sidewalk, right of way availability, and whether the construction would close a gap in existing sidewalks.

Citizen input was achieved through two separate multi-cultural volunteer committees: a Sidewalk Advisory Committee and a Citizen's Watchdog Committee. The two groups attended the monthly scheduled meetings with the Public Works Agency and the ACTIA, acted as liaisons with the community, and were actually given the power to determine the amount of funding to be allocated for each component of each area.

The sidewalk repair portion of the program applied only to single-family residential units in the five county communities, paying half the cost of repairs for applicable properties up to a $750 maximum. Funding was a result of the ACTIA "Measure B Sales Tax" to fund a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Fund, reauthorized by voters in 2000. That source provides $100,000 per year for sidewalk construction, while an additional $100,000 was set aside by the Public Works Agency for repair of sidewalks. Two additional grants were also obtained through the Safe Routes to School program, totaling $920,000. The cost of developing the Sidewalk Construction Program itself totaled about $75,000 in staff time.


The program succeeded in furthering community involvement in the decision making process as well as in securing funding. Due to the reauthorization of the sales tax, the program was assured at least a base amount of funding for the next 20 years. The program promoted effective intergovernmental cooperation and received the support of the local U.S. and state legislative representatives.


Sandra Ornellas, Management Analyst
Office of Policy and Program Development
Alameda County Public Works Agency
399 Elmhurst Street
Hayward, CA 94544-1307
(510) 670-5470

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